Marblehead’s Johra Warab wears her bespoke ballgown in the middle of the Sewing-Fun sewing room. (Libby O’Neill)
Its prom season and for many juniors and seniors, finding their dream dress for a memorable experience can be a hassle, but Johra Warab, a junior at Marblehead High School, decided to create her own.
What made me want to design my own prom dress was how unique it could be, Warab said. There are a limited number of styles in stores and making my own dress meant I could design it however I wanted, use whatever fabric or colors I wanted. I can add special details to it and even recreate unique looks from the web.
When Warab was learning to sew at Sewing-Fun on Bessom Street, owner Nancy Easterbrook suggested she make her own bespoke dress.
Since then, it has taken Warab and Easterbrook about a month, from prep to design and finally to the final result just in time for the ball.
The most enjoyable part of the process was creating my own design, Warab said. I liked using my creativity.
The hardest part was having to resize the dress, she added. I had to constantly try it on to see what changes needed to be made, it was always stressful having to redo certain parts of the dress to make it fit.
The price of a prom dress ranges from as little as $50 to thousands of dollars. The Warabs dress, which looked simple but elegant with extra beading, cost $395, or the cost of 10 sewing lessons, each lasting an hour and a half.
If you get a fairly simple pattern and the measurements work for you, there’s not much you can mess up if you know how to sew, Easterbrook said.
According to Easterbrook, students who make their own prom dresses feel that the most rewarding experiences are when they complete each task, it goes the right way, and the end result.
They feel like they really accomplished something. Something they never thought they could, especially with Johra, Easterbrook said. When you teach kids to sew, it’s all about building their confidence.
For Warab, the end result looked almost exactly what she wanted. The only difference between what she had in mind and the result was the size of the beads.
Working with Nancy was amazing. She helped me a lot because it was the first dress I made. She is very nice and I had fun making the dress with her help, says Warab.
I would most definitely do the process again. I hope to make my dress for my prom next year, she added.
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